Archive for category Washington DC

Industry Talk: PSC That Handled The White House’s ‘Burn Bag’, Files For Bankruptcy

This isn’t good. lol I mean a lot of attention is put on overseas security contracts, but what about stuff like this? I am not familiar with TW & Co. but it is odd to me that they would owe this much in taxes and no one, to include the Secret Service, did not know about this? Or they knew what was going on, and they just looked the other way. Who knows?

Which also begs the question, why is a company like this even allowed to ‘sell off’ it’s contracts, and especially after showing such irresponsibility? How about kicking them off the contract, and re-bid the thing using ‘best value’ as a tool to get the best deal for the White House?

The 617-worker company said it would use the bankruptcy case to shut down its operations and sell off its 22 contracts for the best price it can find.

And if the Secret Service is in charge of this stuff, that maybe they should keep a little closer tabs on the companies that operate this close to the Presidency? (although they have been busy with their own problems recently….)

In my view, every company that works there, should be the best and most squeaky clean companies out there.  Hopefully, whomever they sell these 22 contracts too will be responsible folks that actually pay their taxes. –Matt


Security Firm Handled White House’s ‘Burn Bag’
By Katy Stech
April 30, 2012
The government contractor that disposed of the White House’s secrets kept one of its own: It hasn’t paid its taxes in full since 2008.
That admission came spilling out into bankruptcy court less than a week after Maryland-based security-guard provider TW & Co. filed for Chapter 11 protection owing nearly $3 million on its federal tax bill. The 617-worker company said it would use the bankruptcy case to shut down its operations and sell off its 22 contracts for the best price it can find.
“The end game is an orderly liquidation,” bankruptcy attorney James Greenan told Bankruptcy Beat.
So far, a bankruptcy judge has allowed the company to transfer management of its biggest contracts to a subcontractor, ensuring that the federal institutions like the historic Winder Building, some Smithsonian buildings and several Air Force bases don’t go unwatched as the company searches for a buyer to take on the work permanently.

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Washington DC: White House Security Breach

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Jobs: Security Specialist (Executive Protection), Washington DC



Job Description (Please follow all instructions carefully)

Department: Executive Office of the President Agency: Office of the US Trade Representative

Job Announcement Number: USTR-09-17-PZ

Security Specialist

Salary Range: 50,408.00 – 79,280.00 USD /year

Vacancy No.  USTR-09-17-PZ  

Department  Office of the US Trade Representative

Salary $50,408.00 to $79,280.00 

Grade 09 to 11

Perm/Temp Permanent 

FT/PT Full-time

Open Date 6/12/2009 

Close Date 6/25/2009

Job Link Application instruction listed in job description 

Who may apply Public

Open Period: Friday, June 12, 2009

to Thursday, June 25, 2009

Series & Grade: GS-0080-09/11

Position Information: Full-Time  Permanent

Promotion Potential: 11

Duty Locations: 001 vacancies – Washington, DC

Who May Be Considered:

Applications will be accepted from US Citizens, from current and former competitive service Federal employees, and people eligible under special hiring authorities.

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Industry Talk: Grief, Shock After a ‘Gentle Giant’ Loses His Life in the Line of Duty

“Never take your guard force or your security people for granted,” Parsons said. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do.”  

   Certainly a tragedy, and from the looks of it, Big John didn’t have a chance to draw his .38. I guess the issue of body armor being requested by the union is on the front page as well.  Although, I think if the guard wanted armor and the company wasn’t providing that, then the guard should have made it a personal responsibility to get that armor.  In this industry, it behooves everyone to get their own armor if they are serious about their job.  

     There comes a point where a person must seek personal responsibility and ‘be prepared’.  So from a Jundism point of view, the company failed to protect their employee with the necessary equipment (.38 revolver and no armor), or a refusal to”Take Care of Your People”.  The security professional failed by not accomplishing the mission of getting a vest, if in fact they thought the post had a threat that required it-“Be Prepared”.  

    This is why I have bought all of my own equipment for this work, because it is not enough to depend upon the government or companies to provide everything.  And if cost is an issue, then start creating a gear fund or put the word out and borrow that equipment until you can afford it.   That is the Kaizen way, and to not continually prepare mentally or physically is not good.  Invest in yourself, and do what you have to do to get ready-people’s lives depend on your readiness.

    We should never stop holding these organizations accountable either, so that they do get this equipment to employees and contractors. But you cannot depend on them to do so and for every contract, until it is mandated by law or by the contract or both.  

     And if you are a student of OODA, and Destruction and Creation, and understand the concept behind OODA, then you can really see why ‘being prepared’ and having your own stuff or training is so important. Here is what Boyd had to say in his ‘Goals’ section of Destruction and Creation. 

   And of course, Big John could have had his own body armor, and wasn’t wearing it.  Who knows, but I do know that he had been working that post since 2002. In this case, he made his judgement about the threat by not wearing a vest.  And all of us do this out there, constantly weighing in on wearing the vest or having certain gear, and not having it or using.  Mobility, actual threat and practicality issues are the big one here. Either way, it is hard to say in this case, but this is a story that all of us can learn from in the context of whatever job we are on.     

   Rest in peace to Big John, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. He died in defense of others. –Matt


Destruction and Creation, by Col. John Boyd

(second paragraph) 

Studies of human behavior reveal that the actions we undertake as individuals are closely related to survival, more importantly, survival on our own terms. Naturally, such a notion implies that we should be able to act relatively free or independent of any debilitating external influences—otherwise that very survival might be in jeopardy. In viewing the instinct for survival in this manner we imply that a basic aim or goal, as individuals, is to improve our capacity for independent action. The degree to which we cooperate, or compete, with others is driven by the need to satisfy this basic goal. If we believe that it is not possible to satisfy it alone, without help from others, history shows us that we will agree to constraints upon our independent action—in order to collectively pool skills and talents in the form of nations, corporations, labor unions, mafias, etc.—so that obstacles standing in the way of the basic goal can either be removed or overcome. On the other hand, if the group cannot or does not attempt to overcome obstacles deemed important to many (or possibly any) of its individual members, the group must risk losing these alienated members. Under these circumstances, the alienated members may dissolve their relationship and remain independent, form a group of their own, or join another collective body in order to improve their capacity for independent action. 


In this image provided by the U.S. Holocaust Museum, museum guard Stephen T. Johns, is seen. Johns was killed Wednesday, June 10, 2009, in Washington, when an elderly gunman opened fire at the museum. (AP Photo/U.S. Holocaust Museum)

Grief, Shock After a ‘Gentle Giant’ Loses His Life in the Line of Duty

By Christian Davenport and Paul Duggan

Washington Post Staff Writers

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Colleagues called Stephen T. Johns “Big John,” for he was well over 6 feet tall. But mostly friends recalled the security guard’s constant courtesy and friendliness.

“A soft-spoken, gentle giant,” said Milton Talley, a former employee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where Johns was killed yesterday in the line of duty — shot, authorities said, by an avowed white supremacist who entered the museum with a rifle.

Details of the shooting remained sketchy last night, but apparently the 39-year-old, who was armed with a .38-caliber revolver, did not have time to react when James W. von Brunn walked into the museum, according to police sources.

“Immediately upon entering the front doors of the museum, he raised the rifle and started shooting,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said of von Brunn, 88, adding that he “was engaged by security guards, and there was an exchange of gunfire.”

When the smoke cleared, von Brunn was critically wounded. The only casualty among the guards was Johns, who lived in Prince George’s County. At least one bullet from a small-caliber rifle hit Johns in his upper-left torso, according to Johns’s employer, the Wackenhut security company.

“Two other . . . armed security officers opened fire with their service revolvers,” the company said. “The intruder was hit at once” and wounded.

Johns died at George Washington University Hospital.

“There are no words to express our grief and shock over these events,” the museum said in a statement, describing Johns as “an outstanding colleague who greeted us every day with a smile.”

Johns, a 1988 graduate of Crosslands High School in Temple Hills, lived in an apartment in the Temple Hills area. Friends said he had a son.

Allen Burcky, another former museum employee, said last night that workers there considered each other “like family” and that Johns was “very courteous, very helpful.”

Lourdes Padilla, the mother of a close friend, said that Johns trained as a plumber but that she didn’t think he had ever entered the trade. He remarried about a year ago, Padilla said.

Johns’s sister, Jacqueline Carter, declined to comment as she entered her home in Temple Hills. “She’s in bad shape right now,” said a man who was driving her.

Wackenhut describes itself as the U.S. government’s “largest contractor for professional security services.” An official with the union that represents Wackenhut employees at the museum said Johns was paid about $20 an hour.

“It’s a heavy loss,” said Assane Faye, the Washington district director of the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America.

Like other guards at the museum, on Raoul Wallenberg Place SW near the Mall, Johns underwent training for which he received the D.C. police designation of “special police officer,” which permitted him to carry a revolver on duty.

Faye said that during contract negotiations with Wackenhut two years ago, the union pressed for company-issued protective vests. Although Wackenhut seemed open to the idea, vests have not been issued, Faye said.

“I hammered this in our negotiations two years ago because of how sensitive that museum is,” he said. “Our guards needed more protection.” He said that one of the guards at the museum was “verbally assaulted by one guy walking by, saying anti-Semitic remarks. For that reason, I made that the center of the negotiation.”

Authorities said Johns was not wearing a protective vest.

Susan Pitcher, a Wackenhut spokeswoman, declined to comment on the shooting beyond the company’s statement.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and director of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, said officials at those institutions took immediate steps to enhance security after the shooting in Washington.

“The key component is not only to have your own security, but to work with the local police force,” he said. “In our case, the LAPD has a very good grasp of where all sorts of extremists might be and are able to deploy very quickly.”

William S. Parsons, the Holocaust museum’s chief of staff, praised Johns and his colleagues.

“Never take your guard force or your security people for granted,” Parsons said. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do.” 

Story here.


Union Wanted Bullet-Proof Vests for Holocaust Museum Security Guards

June 11, 2009

The union representing security guards at the Holocaust museum in Washington had been fighting for bullet-proof vests, but the company hadn’t issued them at the time of Wednesday’s deadly shooting.

One guard was killed when police say, a lone white supremacist gunman burst into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and opened fire.

Stephen T. Johns, 39, wasn’t wearing a protective vest when James W. von Brunn allegedly shot him, according to The Washington Post.

The Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America said the union lobbied security contractor Wackenhut Services Inc. for protective vests during contract negotiations two years ago, the Post reported.

But the company-bought vests weren’t provided, even though Wackenhut seemed in favor of the proposal, the union’s Washington district director Assane Faye told the Post.

“I hammered this in our negotiations two years ago because of how sensitive that museum is,” Faye said. “Our guards needed more protection.”

One of the museum’s guards had been “verbally assaulted by one guy walking by, saying anti-Semitic remarks,” Faye told the paper. “For that reason, I made that the center of the negotiation.”

Wackenhut spokeswoman Susan Pitcher declined to comment on the matter.

Johns worked for Wackenhut, which has contracted security services at the museum since 2002, according to a company statement. Johns had been posted at the museum since joining the firm in 2003. The museum has about 70 officers and supervisors on the force.

Guards are armed with .38-caliber revolvers and dress in police-type uniforms, the company said. It said preliminary details indicate the officers responded appropriately when facing the gunman, who opened fire with a rifle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Story Here



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Crime: 2 People Shot at U.S. Holocaust Museum–Security Guard Stops an Active Shooter

   I hope and pray that the security guard that was wounded in this incident is able to survive, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends.  I think the angle I want to highlight here, is that this shooter was there to kill, and thus gets the title of ‘active shooter’.  And the ones that responded and were able to stop him from killing, are the security guards.  It wasn’t a SWAT team, or a special forces team, or some other SRT team, it was trained and ready to go security guards.  

   Without a doubt, today’s security professionals who carry weapons are completely aware of the active shooter scenario.  That timing is everything, and you cannot wait on the cavalry to stop something like this or people will die.  It is on the first responders (a security guard with a gun or even a private citizen with a gun) to stop it, and that is the reality of security and crime in today’s world.  

     The more we can train and keep on top of the best industry practices for dealing with active shooters, the better.  It sounds to me like these guys did what was necessary to stop the guy, and certainly sacrificed to stop him.  Right now, a security guard is sitting in a hospital bed hanging on to dear life, but because of their courage, they did their job and stopped this asshole.

   It also sounds like the shooter was prior military and WW2 veteran, a member of MENSA, a white supremacist and had a criminal background.  And what did he do?  He decided to engage targets in a museum, before going through the screening machines and stations.  So the targets would be anyone in that lobby or security guards in this scenario, and he bypassed the security apparatus, and made the security station area the target area.  The shotgun is also a perfect weapon for shooting at multiple targets at close range, and quickly.  Oh, and I guess he had a book as well, and possibly this was a way to promote his book. Now this guy is in the hospital, thanks to the good work of some security professionals. –Matt

Edit:  The guard has died.  Rest in peace, and thank you for your sacrifice. 


2 People Shot at U.S. Holocaust Museum

By Debbi Wilgoren and William Branigin

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 2:52 PM

A gunman armed with a shotgun walked into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown Washington today and opened fire on a security guard before being shot and seriously wounded by two other guards, authorities said.

The security guard and the gunman were both transported to George Washington University Hospital with serious injuries, police said. A hospital spokesperson declined to release information on the condition of the two.

A third person sustained minor injuries in the shooting, according to police.

A law enforcement source identified the gunman as James W. von Brunn, who is known to authorities as a white supremacist.

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Video: Security Unprecedented for Obama Inauguration